“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

The Safari Formula

From what I could gather, most safari companies operate
in a similar manner.
We were lucky in that the two safari companies that we dealt with were small and
specialized in intimate groups.
Our daily excursions were limited to just the four of us... Jack and I, and Jack's sister, Becky, 
and her hubby Rob.

Our days were structured like this:

5:15 AM wake up call 
(a gentle African voice outside our tent would say "Good morning! It's time to wake up!")
5:30 Breakfast
(toast done over an open fire, porridge, cereal, tea, coffee)
6:00 leave for morning safari
(we normally did either a walking or driving safari at this time of day)
Morning safaris yielded sighting such as these....



herds of zebra....

birds, birds, birds...
the birds of Africa deserve their own post.

elephant traffic jams...

so comical to watch!

giraffes in the mist...
(don't worry... we got very close to many... more pictures coming!)

fresh tracks from the previous night...

10:30 return to camp for showers
11:30 lunch
12:00 noon to 3:30 PM free time
(time to read, write, sleep, etc.  
This is the time of least activity for the animals... they avoid the high heat of the afternoon hours...
and most days it...

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Out Of Africa...

Two weeks ago, when we left the farm and began our journey to Africa,
we knew it would be the adventure of a lifetime.
We were not disappointed.
Actually, we were clueless as to just how much of an adventure was awaiting us.

The travel was long... a nineteen hour flight to Lusaka, the capitol of Zambia...
followed by a five hour drive into the wilderness of Kafue National Park...
a park the size of Massachusetts in the heart of Zambia.
Zambia is a country without infrastructure once out of the city... so much of our drive
was on a one lane dusty, dirt road.

As our driver crept along the winding, rutty, dirt road,
I couldn't help but notice the battalion of tsetse flies accompanying our vehicle.
We were without air-conditioning and the air was stifling...
but the flies made opening the car windows out of the question.

By the time we reached camp, most of the flies had been left behind,
and the stragglers were quickly taken care of by a spray can of "Doom"...
harmless to humans, but doom to the flies.

We were greeted with smiles and cool damp cloths to wipe the dust and sweat away-
then quickly shown the camp that would be home for the next few days.

Our accommodations were basic and lovely.

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Hippos, Giraffes and Lions, Oh My....

Our first week was split between two camps owned by the same safari company.
The first on the edge of a dry lagoon,
(it was dry season...otherwise it would have been full of water)
the second on the edge of a huge grass Savanah. (this place deserves its own post)
Towards the end of the first week...
we were used to the nightly sounds of Africa by this time...
the bird songs, the monkeys, the alarm calls from antelope, the grunts and munching of hippos
and elephants, the growls of leopards passing through camp.
But... early one morning I awoke to a different sound...
it was a low, guttural grunting growl...
and within minutes it was followed by the sound of soft, solid footsteps,
jogging past our tent.
I knew it was a cat... a very large cat.
I shared my experience with our guide at breakfast and before you knew it,
we all quickly jumped in the safari vehicle and set off to search for the owner of that growl.

Guides are so very good at knowing where to look...

and there he was...


To explain what one feels when coming face to face with such fierce beauty...
I would have to say awe, fear, and an incredible desire to hop out and pet the beast.
Thankfully common sense rules, and that...

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African Babies

It fascinates me to watch how different species nurture their young.
Baboon babies were all over the place...
hanging onto their mothers.

For the first couple of months, the babies cling to the front of their mothers...
never far away from their source of nourishment and safety.

After a couple months, they ride upon their mother's back down next to her tail.

Vervet monkeys do the same.

It's not uncommon to see a couple of baboons fighting over a youngster.
Mommas have to carefully watch over their young, or others in the troop
will steal them... and then a screaming match ensues.
Occasionally, the youngster will become the center of a tug-of-war match.
Somehow, they survive their childhood... as was evidenced by no shortage of baboons!

If only I could say the same for Egyptian goslings...

They, unfortunately become easy prey for African fish eagles, who swoop down and
swipe them away, out from under their parents' watchful eyes.

We saw several zebra babies.

This particular one was about 2 months old.

Hippo babies were usually in the water with the rest of their pod and could only be
identified by their smaller head.
We were lucky enough to see this mother and calf on the banks of the river as we...

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Walking Safari

One of the more interesting parts of our trip was our walking safaris.
I have to admit, I found them just a little un-nerving...
not actually frightening...
but I will admit there was always a thought looming in my mind that
danger could possibly lurk around every "corner" or bush!

The last thing a safari company wants is to lose one of its guests,
so they make walking safaris as safe as they can.
An armed scout leads the way, followed by a guide,
then a handful of guests and another guide at the rear.

You are instructed to quietly walk single file...
with additional instructions as to what to do if you encounter a lion, a leopard,
an elephant or a hippo.
The idea of running into any of those made me just a little nervous.
Luckily, the only one of those that we encountered were elephants...
and our scout saw them long before they perceived us as a threat.
We gave them wide berth and safely found our way out of their sight.

A walking safari gives you the opportunity to see all that you wouldn't see
in a vehicle....
animal tracks, insects, plants, dung, skeletons, etc.

A hippo tusk...

Elephant tracks...

Hippo tracks...

Lion dung...

hyena dung...

The guides are well versed in all these areas and are a...

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Things Africa Taught Us

I wanted to share a video with you that was done by our first safari company.
It will give you a good idea what we experienced while there.

While seeing wild and unusual animals is definitely an exciting part of a trip to Africa,
for me it was so much more.
It gave me a chance to think about how interconnected all of the different species
on this earth are.
Each day illustrated how delicate the balance is between everything in nature.

Sometimes we think about our earth and its inhabitants as if it is "us" and "them"...
when in reality, it is everything all together...
interdependent... interconnected... in one great big web of symbiosis.

There were so many illustrations of this interconnectedness that we saw along the way.
For example...

This particular fig tree grows the most unusual fruit along it's trunk and main branches.
Atypically, the flower of the tree is contained within the fruit.
In order for the flower to be pollenated, a very special species of wasp
invades each fruit, laying its egg within the fruit and pollinating the flower while it is inside.
The larvae then develops within the fruit.
The tree needs the wasp and the wasp needs the tree -
two totally different types of species...

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The Busanga Plains

Of all the varied species that we saw in Africa...
none were more prevalent than the grazers.

Impala and antelope-type animals were everywhere...
especially on the plains.

The second stop of our journey took us to a bush camp that was a little more
primitive than the other two camps.
Don't get me wrong... though our accommodations were not as fancy as the other two camps,
 they were still quite lovely.

No electricity, no running water, no phone...
and yet, there was always a bucket of fresh well water for drinking and hygiene...
and bucket showers when we needed them.

The "lodge" was a tree house...

and meals were served right on the edge of the savannah...
where the woodlands meet the Busanga Plains.
I haven't mentioned it before, but the meals were fabulous.
The first safari company had a Cordon Bleu-trained chef create their menu.
It was chock full of vegetables and beans and quinoa and salads with just small portions of meat...
exactly how we like to eat.
Desserts were lovely... small... again, just perfect.

We spent a couple days exploring the wildlife of the plains by safari vehicle.
(I'll mention here that we had two flat tires and one broken fuel line during these two days...
which only...

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Learning To Love Rainy Days

We awoke to pouring rain yesterday.
This seems to be the norm, anymore.
By late morning we had received an inch.

Needless to say, everyone was happy staying indoors.
I have learned to love rainy days... out of necessity!

During a late morning break in the showers, I threw on my muck boots...

and headed to the barn with the dogs in tow.

We all needed to get out of the house...
even if just for a little while.

I stopped by the barn ducks' house to check for eggs.
The runners and Muscovies have the run of the farm... and oh are they
taking advantage of it!

They've been gifting us 2 or 3 eggs each day.
(Wonderful for baking!)

For the past few summers, I have attempted to grow an archway of vines
over the walkway to the greenhouse.
Metal livestock panels can be easily formed into an arch and staked into place.
I planted morning glories and moonflowers at the base of each side.

This year, with the abundant rainfall, the archway is lush with greenery and flowers.
White moonflowers that bloom in the evening and lovely blue morning glories
that open with the morning sun.
Tyler, when he spent last weekend with us, remarked at how
all the leaves are shaped like hearts.

The garden archway that I planted with...

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Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Life

It's pretty hard to top the past 8 blog posts...
but eventually it all had to come to an end, right?
I loved sharing Zambia with you... and believe me, as I traveled through that
incredible country I thought of all the things I wanted to show you.
It was fun having you come along with us!

It's time to get back to farm life, however.
Hopefully it isn't too anti-climactic!

After being gone for two weeks, it was good to be home.
I missed our dogs...

and all of our friends.
I couldn't help but think how lucky I am to have two such beautiful pigs waiting for me...
especially after seeing all those warthogs!

I'd like to think they were happy to see me as well.

With summer's end, the chestnut trees in the pig yard have started to drop 
their nuts.

We've been picking them up off the ground on a daily basis...

And while I know that we could roast them and consume them ourselves...
I hate to take them away from the pigs.
These are their absolute favorite!

We had wonderful caretakers for the animals while we were gone,
and life hummed along as usual.

We had expected, after weathering temperatures in the 100's while we were in Africa,
that we would return home to Autumn and all of its splendor.
It seems that...

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Last, But Never Least

I received a couple questions regarding the objects that our guides were
carrying in the first photo of yesterday's post.
And in reading that question, I realized that I had forgotten to show you something
fantastic from our trip.
The Baobab tree!

The Baobab, or Tree of Life... is one of the most important trees in the areas in which
it grows, as it provides food, shelter and water for the animals in that area.
A single tree can be hundreds, even thousands of years old.
As you drive through Africa, here and there you see a baobab dotting the landscape.

The objects carried by our guide are the fruit of this tree...
called monkey bread.

Within each velvety pod, can be found small kernels of chalky fruit....
that taste like chalky grapefruit-vanilla-pear... obviously a little hard to describe.
They are chock-full of vitamin C, and when boiled, make a delightful fruity drink.

Another amazing tree was the Sausage Tree.
Aptly named...

The fruit of this tree is huge and heavy... 
the heaviest recorded was about 50 pounds.

Imagine one of those dropping on your head!
Both the blossoms and the fruit of this tree are an important food source for the animals.

Something else that is so prevalent on the...

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Off We Go!

This is it.

The day has come.
Our bags are packed...but then, you already know that, because they were packed weeks ago!

I know that this will be my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Africa, 
so I will make the most of every second.
I will try my best to capture every bit of it through the lens of my cameras.
I am packing each and every one of you, my friends and family,
into the pocket that lies closest to my heart and taking you with me.

The farm will be in good hands... and daily life will continue here as always.

I am guessing that internet will be sparse where we will be,
but if I happen to grab some web time, 
I will post a few pics on Instagram

It seems like so much of the farm activity of late has centered around ducks.
I suppose that is because they are so animated regardless of the weather.
And let's face it, there's only been one word to describe the weather...
Yesterday was ducky as well.
I got a text from a friend about another friend who had one lone duck on their property.
It had belonged to a flock that had been culled by winged predators.
One lonesome duck needed a home... and friends...
something that we could offer.
And so...



A happy ending,...

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Little Farm Friends

We continue to be waist-deep in an oppressively humid heatwave.
Walking outside is more like wading through a swamp of moist, hot air.
I feel so sorry for the animals, as I retreat to our air conditioning.
On days such as this, I thank my lucky stars that we have that option.

We had a special farm visitor yesterday.
One of Amanda's dear friends, Shannon came with her daughter Ava for a farm visit.
It was our first time meeting this adorable little spitfire...
as her Mommy and Daddy just moved back to Central Pennsylvania.
We are so happy they are back!

Ava could hardly wait to visit with the animals.
The mere mention of chickens brought an expression of joy to this little one's face.

We braved the heat and insects and hiked out to the barnyard.

MaryAnn was busy out in the front pasture,
but Ginger was more than willing to visit...

and get a snack!

One by one we visited all of the animals.

It's a lot to see for a two-year-old.
Ava was a trooper and not afraid of any of the animals....
walking right up to them and touching them.

I am hoping that this youngster becomes a regular farm visitor.
It's wonderful to see our kids and their friends become great parents.
One of the best parts of having a farm...

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Horsing Around Between Showers

Rain does magical things to the earth.
There is something wonderful about stepping out into nature,
after a rainstorm.

Trees and shrubs are decorated with millions of glistening orbs...
which glisten like gems in the morning light.

Rain turns an (extra)ordinary spider's web...

into a spectacular chandelier,

complete with sparkling prisms.

Sometimes it takes a little effort to look beyond the mud and flood...
but if you do... you will see a whole new world
dressed in glistening finery.

I wasn't the only one who was happy that the rain stopped for a little yesterday.
The horses had spent the past two days in the (wet) dry lot and were ready
to kick up their heels...

and enjoy some freshly washed grass.

I haven't formally introduced our equines in a while.
And since they were all obliging with my photo shenanigans yesterday morning,
I will do so now.

Moonbeam, gentle leader of the herd... his size determines his status...
the personality of an unemployed, blond, surfer-dude, mellowed out with a toke.
"Wowwwwww, man......"

Scarlet... the herd's protector...
(she'd be a shield-maiden if she were human!)
but, interestingly, last in the pecking order when it comes to food.

Donnie Brasco... Scarlet's...

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It's Raining Ducks and Ponies

Greetings from the land of the be-draggled!
It is about as wet as it could possibly be here on the farm.
We've had several days of rain and there is just no where for the water to go.

It's a wonderland if you are a duck!

These guys and gals don't even seem to notice the rain,
but spend their days with their bills to the ground...
looking for tasty earthworms who have come to the surface to avoid drowning...
a fatal mistake!

Early morning chores...

For some, it's a "bad feather" day...

How will we ever dry out these sweaters?

The rain continues today and later this week compliments of Florence.

It's still dry season in Zambia.
If we get off the ground on Saturday, it will be good to go somewhere to dry out.

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This and That

On Friday, I wrote that I would share some photos of where we are staying in Africa.
And since we had a rainy weekend... and I didn't spend any time outside, except 
for chore times,
I don't really have a weekend farm story to share.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that Hurricane Florence stays at sea and does
not come inland.
Besides causing havoc to those in her path,
she may have an affect on our departure from Washington DC on Saturday.
Fingers crossed for all!

If we do make it off the ground, we will be arriving in Zambia on Sunday morning.
We will be staying in a rather remote part of Africa.
Our safaris will be in areas designated as national parks 
where the animals are protected from poachers.
Here is the website for our safari company... there are lots of photos to check out.

Our first camp will be here for several nights...

The inside looks like this...

From there we travel to a bush camp which is quite a bit more rustic....

After four nights in the bush,
we return to Camp number 1( and running water) for a couple more nights.
We then fly on a small plane across the country to this camp.

You can check out their website HERE.
There are more photos to see on their website.

In the mean time,...

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Hay There! It's Friday!

One more load of hay to stow, and we are ready for whatever
Old Man Winter decides to throw at us.

Yesterday we took delivery of 100 bales.

I lifted those 100 bales from the pile and set them on the hay elevator to the second
floor of the barn, where Hubbs and Anna stacked them neatly.
I had the easier job.
Stacking hay inside the barn is the hardest work here on the farm.
It pays off, however...
when it's time to feed all of the hungry mouths we have over the winter.

It was hot, sweaty work... even at 9:00 in the morning.

The rest of the day I spent finishing the mowing and working on a knitting project.
While I knit, Hubbs practiced flying his drone...
and took this footage.
I thought you might enjoy another birds-eye look at the farm and how
it is laid out.
There is a little footage of the surrounding area as well.

I love to see the area from above... 
it's a good reminder of just how lovely this area is!

I must tell you, I am in as much of a flutter as our running ducks.
It's one week until we leave for Africa and I still cannot believe that we are actually going.
If you'd like, next week I can share some photos of where we will be staying 
while we are there.
(As well as current tales from the...

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September usually gives me visions of sweaters and apples, 
kitchen windowsills lined with the end of the summer's tomato harvest,
cool evenings and even cooler mornings,
the lifting of summer's humidity and oh, so much more.
It's the beginning of one of my favorite seasons.
(I have four favorites, you know, but some are more than others!)

This year I am renaming the month Swamptember....
as it seems to be none of the above things.
The only thing that assures me that August is behind us is the 7:15 AM
passage of the school bus.

I am praying that Swamptember does not leave us with Hot-tober!

It's felt like the hottest week of the entire summer, I swear.
The heat index hangs around 100 in the afternoon...
and falls to somewhere in the 80's at night.
It's hot.
It's humid.
It's weird...

After all the rainy weeks that July and August brought us, it seems the garden is 
enjoying this new heatwave.

The above sunflower, stands over 10 feet tall, thanks to abundant rainfall.
What was once drowned and bedraggled has been given new life.
The zinnias, though soon coming to the end of their season, are still lovely.

The dahlias have only now begun to blossom.

And this arch placed next to the barn over the new...

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The Curious Case of The Confused Cormorant

Yesterday was quite the day for curiosities...
and a couple of mysteries.
The morning started out as planned with a visit from the farrier.

While he was busily trimming hooves, 

I happened to glance out into the dry lot
to see a flurry of wings as a rather uncoordinated bird landed on the fence.

At first I thought it was one of our muscovy ducks.
We often see them perched on fences and roofs...
even way up high on the large arena.

Then I looked closely and realized it was not a duck, but a cormorant.
They are actually more closely related to pelicans.

Cormorants are coastal birds, generally... their diet consisting of fish and eels and water snakes.
There are a number of them that live on the river about 30 miles downriver from our house.
This bird seemed lost and confused.

He sat on the fence, surveying the farm for about 10 minutes and then took off...
flying clumsily across the front pasture and out of sight.
Quite a curious visitor!

Then, after the farrier finished, I headed into the garden 

to check out something that I had seen earlier on a tall weed.

This fellow had caught my eye during morning chores as I drove the gator past the garden.
I needed a closer look.

How about those...

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Welcoming September With A Weekend of Fun

We had a perfectly perfect holiday weekend.
A weekend with no plans quickly morphed into one chock-full of fun.

The cool, autumn-like weather of the preceding week was quickly replaced
by the return of hot, humid summer days.

Just a quick note about vaccination day on Friday.
The pigs didn't were in rare form and caused quite a ruckus while getting their injections.
They did not make me proud at all!
Thankfully it was all over quickly.

And the sheep did not allow us to catch them.
We'll have to sneak up on them in the next few mornings in order to vaccinate them.

We spent our weekend with a good mix of farm chores and family fun.

Saturday was freedom day for the young hens that we raised from just-hatched chicks.
The door to the chicken yard was opened...

and within a few minutes, the first of the teenagers emerged.

Getting them back in that evening was a little challenging... but Hubbs succeeded.

I did a little cheese-making Saturday morning... queso blanco (queso fresca)...
(this cheese is super simple and quite tasty)

which we used on top of homemade carnitas tacos...

I also baked these Lime/Coconut cupcakes....delicious!

Hubbs and I had a "date" on Saturday evening and had an early dinner out...

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Everyone Gets Their Shots... Even Us

Today is vaccination day on the farm.
EVERYONE is getting vaccinated....dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, sheep, pigs.
(The goats were already done earlier.)
Typically, vaccinations go off without a hitch.

Last year, however... after losing their mama,
Faith and Hope were quite shy, so catching them was a bit dicey.

They've come a long way in a year and are much friendlier now...

so I anticipate no problems from them.

These two, however....

are a whole different story.
For the first several years, Dr. Becky would vaccinate Ginger and MaryAnn
without them even noticing.
Then, last year, they got a little wiser and decided they were having nothing to do with
that process.
Eventually, the deed was done... but not before we humans got filthy and a couple skinned knees.
This year.... it remains to be seen.

I plan on harvesting a bunch of carrots from the garden to keep the pigs busy...
while Dr. Becky vaccinates them from behind.
(Oh, and their skin is tough as leather...ie: pigskin!)

Several weeks ago, Hubbs and I were vaccinated as well...
hepatitis, typhoid, etc... in preparation for an upcoming trip.
And then, there is this....

We will continue to bring you stories from the farm for the next two...

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Cooling Off In The Kitchen

I am sitting here at my computer, 
trying to cool off a bit...
afternoon chores are finished.
I can only describe these days as this...
if I closed my eyes, I would swear I was standing under a broiler,
in an oven with a steam function.

To the eye, however, the farm is lovely right now.
There's no August brown as in most years...
no, we've continued with June's green the whole way through the summer.
I'm eager to see what colors autumn brings this year, with the abundant rainfall
that we've had.

I spent a little time, yesterday afternoon, harvesting colorful peppers.
It's been a great year for peppers.

I've made relish and hot pepper jam (which by the way is over-the-top-delicious!)

It's a simple recipe and pairs wonderfully with cream cheese on crackers.

Hot Pepper Jam

4 cups finely chopped hot peppers (seeded)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 (1.75 oz) package of powdered pectin
5 cups of sugar

I use all hot peppers because we like our peppers HOT!!
However, if you like a little less heat, you can substitute as much of the hot peppers
with sweet peppers as you like... but use at least ¼ cup hot peppers for a little kick.
Bring peppers, vinegar and pectin to a boil, stirring constantly.

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Water, Water Everywhere

We are still under a thick grey cloud of rain... with showers soaking us almost hourly.
And yet, there is such a quiet peacefulness here.
It's a little eerie.
No birds, no sounds... but the gentle chirp of crickets...
and the drip, drip, drip of rain on the leaves... a drip that continues in the woods
long after a shower has ended.
Wet has become a way of life this summer.
We have not seen the end of the wet, either.

It's another day of staying inside.

Outside is this...

Of course the rain does not deter the ducks.
They have all become quite bold... unafraid of the horses.

The muscovy ducks have even begun hiking up to the goat pen to visit
the goats each morning.
(and dirtying their water buckets!)

Each morning, when their house is opened,
two of the muscovys take off in flight,
making a huge circle around the farm.
They come right back...it's the strangest thing...and hopefully I will catch it on video for you.

During the rest of the day, you can find them just about anywhere.

Our little white muscovy who insists upon her solitary pond life,
has laid another clutch of eggs.

Hubbs stole them away to keep her from being broody...
sitting on a nest that will never yield any ducklings
(no one to...

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Another Perfectly Ordinary Morning

Saturday was freedom day for our young trio,
Prince, Freddie, and Bruno.

After a week of confinement in the Frat House,
their door to the great outside was opened and they were given the opportunity to 

Bruno was the first to emerge
(with a little encouragement)...
and flew straight up into a neighboring tree.

Prince was the next to emerge...
running straight into the woods.

Freddie was the most timid of them and at first, refused to step foot outside his house.
Worried that they might get disoriented, we opened the door to their old yard...
offering them familiar surroundings.

Eventually all three got together and started to explore their world...
eventually ending up in their old yard together.

Unfortunately, they decided that they liked the old coop much better
and spent most of their day there.
Familiarity is security, I suppose.

If the old house is where they want to live... so be it.
They are fine there until the day comes that we need to raise another brood of chicks.
Until that day, the Frat House remains un-occupied,
and the three teenaged boys will share the nursery.
Silly roosters!

Morning chores are the best time of day.
Rounding up the horses who have spent their night in the...

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The Secret Life of Runner Ducks

There are some, whose life is just ducky...

Here is a typical day in the life....

As you can see... they are a constant source of entertainment!

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Out Of The Darkness, Into The Light

We awoke to cloudy skies, but no rain yesterday.

From safe and warm beneath my covers, I could hear my garden calling my name.
While Hubbs did animal chores, I headed into the garden.

Despite the rain, rain, rain we have received, I still have a good crop of 
lima beans...

kale and rainbow chard...

drying beans...

sweet potatoes...

sweet peppers...

and hot peppers.
( I spent a good part of yesterday dealing with hot peppers!)

Suddenly I was aware of a brightness to which I was unaccustomed.

What was that?

Oh, now I remember... that is the sun.
I had thought for certain it had forsaken us...
perhaps forever.

I reveled in the sights around me...
the way the light plays on the earth...
casting shadows here and there...
and how that golden hour makes everything so much more vivid!

It was beautiful.
And I was so thankful that I had left my bed to partake in the magic.

I spent a little time walking all over the farm...
looking at everything in the light of the rising sun.

I watched as my world came back to life...
the flowers stretching their happy faces high to catch the sun's rays.

The previous day's mail had brought a package of saffron crocus bulbs.
Where once had grown a dozen broccoli stalks,
I now...

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Rainy Days And Tuesdays

If I were keeping score of rainy vs. sunny days
for the past two months, 
the tally would be quite lopsided in the direction of rainy days.
Yesterday was yet another one.

I cannot let myself get discouraged, though, 
as my tomatoes rot on the vine, 
and giant weeds gain a stronghold on my garden.
Mother Nature has won... but I don't feel defeated.
I gave the garden my very best.
It has gifted us much nutrition in spite of the rain.
Let's face it... there's always next year!

Don't be fooled by how green and lush the garden is...
the weeds are quite green!

And although the tomatoes hate the rain, the flowers love it!

No, to lament a rainy day would be a waste of a perfectly good day...
something of which we only have a finite amount.
Instead, I choose to use the quiet hours indoors for some endeavors
that have been like butterflies flitting around my mind.

My normally fluffy sheep feel like wet sweaters,
and I wonder what wet wool feels like on their backs...

 and if it ever even reaches their skin, with all of the lanolin in their fleece.

Ginger and MaryAnn could care less about the rain and are just happy for cooler days.
The rain helps to rinse off the mud that cakes on their skin from their...

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At some point over the past two days,
summer looked away and set her sights on southern latitudes.
Cool breezes blew in, lifting the oppressive humidity that we have lived with 
for the past several weeks.

Rainy season continues with occasional sprinkles,
but there is definitely a change in the air.

Even though we are a month away from the change of seasons,
there is no denying that there is a change in the air.
The days are shorter.
The blackbirds are starting to gather in flocks.
As the morning sun breaks through hazy skies,
freshly-spun, dewy spiderwebs catch the sun's rays,
and reflect them to my eyes like strands of rhinestones.

The signs are subtle, but enough to whet my appetite for everything that Autumn brings.

The cooler weather is to continue this week,
and I can honestly say, I am not disappointed!

With temperatures predicted in the 70's and 80's, we decided that it might be the perfect
time to move the young chickens, that we've been raising since May,
into their permanent home with the rest of our hens.

In a flurry of excitement, squawking, and flying feathers,
we gathered up each of the young hens and placed her into a crate
in the back of the gator.

We carefully transported them to...

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The Week's End Wrap-Up

Life is just ducky in duck world...
I wish it were so in people world.

Our little white muscovy gal has adjusted to her new home.
I think it's safe to say she is enjoying the companionship of like-minded ducks!

Last evening while changing the water in their pool,
I stopped to really watch and examine this group of quackers.

It seems we have 3 male runner ducks and 2 females.
Males have a little curly feather on their tale and females "quack".
I would have preferred more females, as runner ducks are wonderful egg layers.

As for the muscovy ducks... I'm not yet sure of the distribution of males to females.
Males are significantly larger than females.

A couple of them are enormous,
a couple are moderately sized and a couple are small.
Time will tell.

Muscovy ducks are heavy-footed ducks and remind me more of geese than ducks.
They are also much quieter than the runners. 

I am happy to report that our 5 wild (rescued and farm-raised) mallards
are still alive and well.
They spend their days with the other pond ducks, like one big happy family.
Hopefully, they will stay and call the pond home.

Remember that last guinea who was sitting on the nest next to the greenhouse?
Well, she abandoned her nest.


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There's nothing better,
on a hot day,
than hanging out by the pool with a couple of girlfriends...

I've been pigged.

I love, love, love these two.
Pigs just might be my all time favorite farm animal.
It all started a very long time ago,
when I was just a young girl.

I fell in love with piglets...
and wanted nothing more than to have a pig.

If I could go back and tell my 10-year-old self that pigs were a part of my future...
I am sure I never would have believed it.

But here we are, 50 years later...
and I cannot imagine life without my two porcine girlfriends.

They are truly as smart as (if not smarter than) dogs...
and quite emotional.
They form strong attachments to each other and to their human friends.

No matter the day,
I can always count on these two being happy to see me.

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A Few Smiles

Every day, as I work around the farm,
there are little things that make me smile...
and I think they might make you smile as well.

a typical morning traffic jam as I commute to work...

my copilot...

the smiling faces that greet me...

oh my, those teeth!...

A wall of morning glories on the garden fence...

Monarch caterpillars stuffing themselves on milkweed...
preparing for their dramatic end-of-summer transformation.

New electric service... complete... for the goats and chickens.

Limelight hydrangeas, one of my favorites.

And an elephant ear whose leaf has grown to 36 inches in length...
makes me feel like I'm in the land of the dinosaurs!

The weather continues to be overcast with showers from time to time.
So, I have been....

reading these...

working on this...
(I have just a little left to do on her hair.)

I found the design on line and printed it out on the product on the right of this photo.
When I am finished working the design, I will simply rinse in warm water,
and the overlay will melt away and disappear, leaving just the design on my linen fabric.
This product revolutionizes hand stitchery!

Yesterday I made a batch of 16 pizza crusts.
This is the simplest way to pre-make crusts that...

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